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February 25, 2014 in broadcast news, Cable news, politics, pop culture news, tv ratings | Tags: CNN president Jon Klein, Jeff Zucker, Khloe Kardashian, Larry King, Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell | by Shelley Ross dailyXpress | Leave a comment
It wasn’t a very well-kept secret anyway. It turned out Piers Morgan was out celebrating in London in a big noisy group that included mutual friends. And, well, no one had to hack his phone to hear about the deal Simon Cowell was helping him craft.
Well, here’s my next hint: his replacement should have the initials of JL, and I don’t mean Jerry Lewis.
I hope Jeff Zucker does get as bent out of shape as Jon Klein did, writing to me a terse e-mail, “You’re not helping me here.” I wish I could have.
From the beginning I took special interest in Piers Morgan because, a) we have those mutual friends and acquaintances, b) I thought it was time for Larry King to retire and I was hungry for a fresh voice and c) I am married to a Brit and was curious how this would work.
Yes, American TV viewers had fallen in love with Simon Cowell, the dangerous British bad boy with, secretly, a big heart. But Morgan? He would need a lot of different coaching.
My unique viewpoint comes from my early years with my husband who was born in London, went to Leicester University and became an entertainment lawyer. Soon after, he took top leadership roles at British record labels including Arista, Phonogram and MCA UK.
He reads many papers each day, always has a book or two on hand, keeps his finger on the pulse of not only music, but world politics, fashion, financial crises, sports, history of many world tensions and more. He is a people person and a family man. But when he finally moved to America to launch a new record label for MCA in 1988, there was still a steep cultural learning curve.
Here are some of the simple ways I helped, which could have easily helped Piers Morgan.
First stop was the Kennedy library in Boston. There we watched all the fabulous off-the-cuff verbal sparring between JFK and the White House correspondents, a high watermark for presidential access and candor. Then we watched a JFK documentary followed by one of RFK. Among many reactions, David was devastated to learn the civil rights movement, which he had read about, had happened so recently. It was now much more disturbingly indelible.
We then rented the whole series of Eyes On the Prize and watched the episodes back to back. It was a life-changing immersion, one recommended for every serious foreign journalist or businessman. There are so many nuances in American politics that as we went along over time, I could explain why one politician is forgiven, another is not and more.
For most of my adult life, I have always felt independent of any political party, an observer rather than a joiner. Given that, I was able to explain to my British step-children why no matter what was spoken during the 2008 election, the two rival presidential candidates would most likely take the same action with the same timing in winding down the wars.
I know, Piers Morgan wasn’t doing a Sunday morning show. He just needed to have been steeped in a bit more of the American journey so he could have maybe talked with Oprah about Martin Luther King, Jr. for an interview that would air on the civil rights leader’s birthday.
Maybe someone should have told him his promo pictures shouldn’t have been in front of the make-up mirror.
And someone should have warned him against not only having the Kardashian sisters sit on his lap, but sending out perhaps the creepiest publicity photos in CNN history.
I don’t really know enough to blame Morgan. I’d much rather work with a person on camera that you have to pull back a bit than one you must push forward. But no one was pulling him back.
And who told him his purpose in coming to America was to teach us about gun control all the while fracturing the statistics from the UK and speaking over those who tried to correct him.
The key is this: you can criticize this country on tv only if viewers believe you know this country and love this country… between New York and L.A.
In fact, my husband became the most patriotic person I know and seeing through his eyes made me even more patriotic. He even loves that Americans give second chances to failed politicians…invoking Winston Churchill.
Maybe Piers will have a second chance, too. He has a big personality made for TV, plenty of moxie, ego and mental sharpness. Just look how he made mincemeat of the legal panel investigating his role in the Murdoch newspaper hacking scandal. I watched it all. He made them look like amateurs.
But the damage has been done at CNN.
Zucker is under pressure, having failed to launch a successful new CNN morning show, just as he failed –hands on– launching “Katie” in syndication. (Hello, 1978’s calling, they want their talk show back.)
Zucker needs a great big splashy hit. Maybe if JLen can get over the NBC 10:00 purgatory thing with his old boss, all will be forgiven and it could be Zucker’s biggest booking ever. CNN has the money, now just shake that tree.
And let’s hope Piers Morgan learns to genuinely love America before he rolls in again to teach us right from wrong in politics AND TV.
February 1, 2011 in broadcast news | Tags: ABC's Terry Wrong, Anwar Sadat, Ben Wedeman, Client 9, CNN, Egypt, Elliot Spitzer, Hosni Mubarak, John King, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Larry King, Mark Whitaker, Nic Robertson, Peter Jennings, Piers Morgan, ratings, Ted Koppel, Wolf Blitzer | by Shelley Ross dailyXpress | Leave a comment
FIRST BIG INTERNATIONAL CRISIS IS A BUST FOR NEW BOSS
PRIMETIME RATINGS WAY LOWER THAN LARRY KING
TELEVISING THE REVOLUTION, THE HARD WAY
On Friday, with Egypt erupting in a people’s revolution, CNN wisely bagged their primetime programs and stayed on the live breaking news with two of the best reporters of our generation: Ben Wedeman and Nic Robertson. Sadly, not many viewers came to the party. Now CNN has put in place Mark Whitaker, a news exec from NBC and Time. Will he be the heroic smoke jumper needed to save the prime real estate?
Below are the A25-54 #s for Friday for CNN from 6-11PM:
Last year, Larry King averaged 199,000 A25-54 on the same week (w/o Jan 25th) last year — without breaking news. Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2011 in pop culture news, tv ratings | Tags: adults 25-54, arrogance, Bill Clinton, CNBC, CNN, Condoleeza Rice, first week, Fox News, George Clooney, HLN, Howard Stern, Larry King, live interviews, Marijuana USA, MSNBC, Nancy Grace, new bosses, Nielsen ratings, office pool, Oprah Winfrey, Parker-Spitzer, Piers Morgan, Rachel Maddow Show, ratings, ratings tank, Ricky Gervais, Sean Hannity, strategy | by Shelley Ross dailyXpress | Leave a comment
HOW LONG BEFORE PIERS MORGAN GOES LIVE, ADDS MULTIPLE GUESTS? START THE OFFICE POOL NOW
KING REPLACEMENT STILL LIKES HIS INTERVIEWS PRE-TAPED — NOT SHAKEN OR STIRRED
Whew, what a relief that Piers Morgan’s first week is over. We can both relax now. I don’t really know how he felt, but I certainly was full of anxiety watching. Imagine getting hired to replace an icon like Larry King. The set, the suspenders, open heart surgery (or as he awkwardly called it with Bill Clinton: the “zipper club.”) And all the wives we loved and lost.
Replacing a broadcast original, even if he’d acted like your embarrassing uncle some nights, is a daunting challenge. I just couldn’t wait for those first interviews to be over so we can all dig into reality.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL BURN THE FIRST WEEK…
No matter how strategic one tries to be, you might as well burn the first week anytime you’re stepping into big shoes, especially comfortable old ones. And you’ve got to know the size of the shoes into which you step — the American size, not the English size, which is smaller. (A man’s size 12 in the US is an 11 in the UK.)
Speaking of smaller, the total audience for Morgan’s show began to shrink throughout the first week, losing nearly a million viewers across all ages.
Among adults 25-54, the audience was nearly halved by Wednesday. But then again, anyone here could have warned in advance that Condoleeza Rice, while one of the most interesting women in the world, is not fascinating as an interviewee. Ricky Gervais, on the other hand, is — especially right after his Golden Globe controversy. But “right after,” in our world of 24/7 news, would have been Monday, not Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »